Nov. 10, 2012
By Brian Rice
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A career day for Mychal Rivera wasn't quite enough for Tennessee on Saturday afternoon, but the senior's performance was reminiscent of some of the great games by Vol tight ends.
Rivera pulled down a career-high 10 catches for 129 yards, another career-best, and a touchdown in the 51-48 setback to Missouri at Neyland Stadium.
Rivera said his great day was keyed by play calls from offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and throws from quarterback Tyler Bray that took advantage of the coverages the Tigers ran against the UT offense.
"We were running a lot of different plays and they were in basic coverages," Rivera said of the matchups that gave UT an advantage. "When they run coverages like that and play zone with the linebackers, I'm open a lot and the whole middle of the field is open a lot."
Rivera's three best games as a Vol have all come against Southeastern Conference opponents. His previous career-best 85 yards came a season ago against Georgia, a feat he nearly equaled against the Bulldogs this season with 82 yards, including a career-long 62-yard score. Still, the performance didn't take the sting off of the loss.
"Having a game like that, you'd love to get a win," Rivera said. "It's very disappointing."
The Volunteers still have plenty to play for, and Rivera said extending his Tennessee career by one game was still the focus for him as attention turns to the final road contest of the season next week in Nashville.
"Two more wins and we're bowl-eligible," Rivera said when asked about the team's goals going forward. "That's what we're looking towards right now and we have Vanderbilt on the road next. Your next game is your biggest game and we're focused and going to be ready for that."